ED Schreyer believes that Manitoba Hydro has spent far more money compensating northern communities than was warranted by the damage caused by its power generating dams.
The former Governor-General of Canada thinks Manitoba Hydro has been a victim of attempts by the federal government to transfer its responsibilities to provide social and economic assistance to First Nations to Manitoba Hydro.
“I have witnessed federalism at its best and at its worst,” Schreyer said yesterday at a speech to the right wing Frontier Centre for Public Policy.
“An example of the worst is the attempt over the past 10-to-15 years by the government of Canada to transfer the burden of social and economic uplift in northern communities from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada onto the back of Manitoba Hydro.”
Schreyer has become a self-styled expert in energy policy over the past several years and he believes there should be more hydro power generation in the world and much less power generated by burning natural gas.
In his speech yesterday he touched on several of the key energy industries of the day like global warming, the depletion of the world’s fossil fuel reserves and the lack of effort around the world to develop alternative fuels. Schreyer claimed there has not been any new Hydro generating capacity in North America for 18 years — when Limestone was built in northern Manitoba.
He said part of the reason for that is that “so-called environmentalist” have been so effective in lobbying governments against those developments. He believes that because of those efforts Manitoba Hydro may have spent about 10 times more compensating northern Manitoba communities than it really needed to.
Although the Frontier Centre promoted the event citing Schreyer’s opposition to the current government’s plan that might partially subsidize high natural gas prices with profits from Hydro export sales, Schreyer did not broach the subject.
Instead he encouraged Manitoba Hydro and other power utilities to develop sustainable power like wind and for the other industries to become more serious about the development and use of ethanol and diesel fuels.